Strength and Conditioning

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ON Presents: Active Life Podcast

It’s with great pleasure that I get to share a conversation I had with Dr. Sean Pastuch with you. It was the first full length episode of his new podcast, The Active Life Podcast.

On this episode we discussed the years leading up to the creation of ORIGINAL Nutritionals, DEUCE Gym, and the book I’m working on. Naturally, we got into some ideology and organizational culture elements. We even talk specifically about developing coaches and how we do that at DEUCE Gym.

I am confident this will be an enjoyable listening experience for you. Enjoy!



Logan Gelbrich


A Training Day: Spain’s Hall of Champions

While I was just forty-eight hours away from wrapping up my keynote talks with gym owners from around Europe, I felt like keeping my mouth shut was the best approach when I walked into Oviedo’s Palacio Municipal weightlifting spainde Deportes. I was a visitor in hallowed ground. I’d follow my leader, Alberto Garcia, past the figure skaters practicing in the center of the arena, and then past the rhythmic gymnastics room. He’d open a door, next to the boxing room, into a scene out of a every weightlifting documentary that should be made but hasn’t.

The authentically worn equipment has character and reminds you again that being a champion is about the training, not the glamour. An off number of sparse forgotten dumbbells collect rust behind a simple mirror. The room is all about the three platforms that are the focus of the center of the room. While there are enough mismatched barbells and plates, there aren’t any extra. There are no power racks, branded refrigerators, or t-shirts for sale. While I did see a dusty record player, there was no music.

This is Spain and more champions than we both can count came from this modest, backroom gym. My training partner today, “Berto,” is nineteen and while practicing his English, he explains the seven year old boy in the photo taped on the wall is him. In fact, he’s in a number of newspaper clippings that have made it on the wall, along side contemporary weightlifting legends like Lidia Valentin. Berto is a quiet, unassuming phenom. He’s been training since he was seven with his renown coach, who’s athletes are no strangers to podiums on the highest stages of international competition. He, of course, is a local police officer, who helps weightlifters on the side put up big numbers. Berto’s number speak for themselves and he’s rarely boastful. In fact, the strongest assertion he makes about his goals is how often he coincidentally wears his favorite sweatpants with “TOKYO” emblazoned on the side. While these aren’t official 2020 host of the Olympic Games merchandise, Berto wants you to connect the dots yourself. I did.

From the US, we hear about the grandeur of European weightlifting, but seeing it it person is something remarkable. The results are incredible. For context, Berto has been able to train weightlifting for free since the age of seven and his totals are internationally competitive, and his younger sister, Nere, could be even better. Kids in America don’t take up weightlifting before the age of ten, sure, but as I walk around this classic weightlifting dungeon, I can’t help but think of all the parents paying hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars each month for club teams and one-on-one lessons in basketball and baseball. That’s a full months salary for FullSizeRender 88many parents in Spain.

Furthermore, the resources made available at my gym, DEUCE Gym, to hundreds of weekend warriors that will never have the weightlifting success Berto had before his thirteenth birthday. Our equipment trumps the equipment these athletes are using to claw their way to an Olympic Games. Yet, they do the work. As we finished our snatching session, I took a moment to appreciate how beautiful Berto’s movement was, especially against a backdrop that would get poor Yelp! reviews back home. Nonetheless, he knows his gym is perfectly good enough to be a champion.


Logan Gelbrich



[VIDEO] Beyond Strength: PR & Chill

We aren’t just talking the talk at ORIGINAL Nutritionals, since 2011 we’ve walked the walk, too. The video above is a piece our friends at Train Heroic has produced to give insight into a program I developed at DEUCE Gym that is shared and followed around the world called Strongman 202. Whether you have an interest in strongman sport or not is beside the point. The concepts in this video pay dividends in any application of strength and conditioning.

Watch and let me know how you like it. Thanks!


Logan Gelbrich


Clean Athlete Nation Invades Barbell Shrugged

I’ve been on a big of a podcast streak! Here’s an excellent conversation from the internationally acclaimed crew at Barbell Shrugged. In this episode recorded at DEUCE Gym, we discuss everything from strongman training for a general physical preparedness program (GPP), developing coaches, and the state of affairs in the world of CrossFit.

These guys do a wonderful job creating creative content and it was an honor to be on the show. If you’d rather listen to the audio only click here. Enjoy!


Logan Gelbrich


What’s your way in?

I don’t like when people tell me what to do. I never have, and I don’t think I ever will. And that’s not to say that I’m stubborn – I’m honestly a very cooperative and understanding person if people are open to conversation.


I just don’t take lightly to demands.


Because of this, I used to really hate athletics. I mean hate. I didn’t like having some elementary school gym teacher blow a whistle at me and tell me to run faster, I didn’t like when I was told to stop talking and pay attention to directions (uh… 4th grade relationships ALWAYS take precedence over kickball) and I particularly didn’t like being told that I wasn’t a “sports” person.

After a few years of getting the lowest possible ribbon in the presidential fitness test, my athleticism (or lack thereof) evolved into being the punch line for my best shticks. If I made a joke about being a slow runner or hating waiting in a dugout, I didn’t have to feel embarrassed that I never excelled in something that, actually, seemed pretty fun.

It wasn’t until I found something that worked for me that I started to consider myself an athlete. It was joining a club water polo team. There was something about being in the water that made the whole “exercise” thing seem that much more approachable – which is funny, because if I knew that I would in a few weeks I’d be treading water with a 25 pound medicine ball above my head for 10 minutes as a warm-up I probably would never have approached” that pool deck in a million years.

But I joined. And I know that part of it had to do with the fact that I met some of the most down-to-earth, talented, and joyful girls I would meet on that club team. But I think that part of it was just being in an environment where I felt comfortable to screw up and laugh about it – but not laugh it off. I would laugh, but then someone would believe enough in me, be it a teammate or coach, to take the time and help me modify a movement or skill.

This transition into for the first time in my life not only liking, but also, excelling at something so kinesthetic was a realm entirely new to me, and it allowed me to finally consider myself an athlete. The beauty of being an athlete is that if you’re an athlete once, you’re an athlete for the rest of your life. Because you know that you have the ability to do it. You just have to find your own way in. My back door was water polo. Recently, my re-entry into calling myself an athlete has been joining Deuce.

Do what’s right for you, and don’t give a shit how you get there. Just make sure you aren’t stopping yourself from doing something because you’re pretty sure you can’t do it. Chances are, you can.


So just DO it okay???


… please. That was a request, not a demand. : )


Have you achieved a goal by doing it your way? Let us know! Share your story with us on Twitter. @onutritionals || #PinkyUp

– Liv


Instagram: @liv.r_

Twitter: @oliviarussak

Inquiries: [email protected]


Follow Strongman 202

I wear a lot of hats. When I’m not talking to gym owners and other retailers about ORIGINAL Nutritionals, I’m writing for various fitness publications. When I’m not doing those things I’m either coaching or training at my gym, DEUCE Gym, in Venice Beach.

Of course, if you’re reading this you’re invited to visit us any time. Most, however, can’t. Now, it won’t matter, as both Strongman 101 and Strongman 202 will be available to follow worldwide online.

Strongman 101 is a program designed for gym owners and coaches to introduce CrossFit athletes and general fitness practitioners to the strongman implements twice a week for eight weeks. Strongman 202 is a complete strength and conditioning program geared towards strongman. Athletes can expect to follow a conjugate based strength approach that will address both absolute strength and speed. In addition, constantly varied conditioning will answer to both specific strongman competitors’ goals as well as the general fitness practitioner with body composition goals.

The program is affordable ($12/month or $120/year) and already packed with participants. Join us here: DEUCE Strongman


Logan Gelbrich


Is Missing the Main Move Missing the Point?

When I think of what goes on in most corporate gyms, all the stereotypical thoughts of guys doing curls in the squat rack and copious amounts of “core” comes to mind. These are, after all, the behaviors that haters of corporate fitness hate, right?

With the growth of CrossFit, also came the growth of hate for accessory work like triceps exercises, the lat pull down, and other corporate gym staples. As the functional fitness industry pendulum swings away from a more staunch constantly varied, high intensity, functional-movements-only mind set to include more tried and true accessory work, I began to wonder:

Did we ever hate the accessory stuff? Or, were we just irked that men and women were throwing out the main move?

After all, when you include a main move, (deadlift, squat, press, clean, snatch, etc) and train like a typical corporate gym rat, isn’t that shockingly close to how a weightlifter or a powerlifter would train?

The reason I bring this up is because the “hater” side of fitness is my least favorite. If you’re going to fly the CrossFit flag, rock on! I’d just hope that we could look at ”globo gym” life as something closer to something we all universally respect than you might first think.

Keep working hard, everyone!


Logan Gelbrich



Potent Variance

Any average gym bro can tell you about “muscle confusion” and “mixing it up.” In addition, there’s no shortage of folks plateauing in the fitness training. The most troubling thought for me as a coach is that there are motivated, actionable individuals out there that are spinning their wheels with bad information.

If the strongest athletes in the world (at Westside Barbell) have taught us anything, isn’t it variance? If the fittest men and fittest women on Earth (CrossFit Games Champions) have taught us anything, isn’t it variance?

Variance in training serves a multitude of purposes, but I’ll distill it down to two key ones. First and foremost, variance builds a broad base. Even for specific athletes, like powerlifters, variance allows them to build strength in different positions, which, even in their very basic three movement sport, has deviations in bar path and its own elements of adversity. Being strong in a multitude of ranges not only helps these athletes “win” in areas of deviation, it keeps them safe in them.

Second, variance in training keeps the athlete marching forward in training. If a cyclist, for example, trained only by way of riding his/her bike, there’s a point where time in the saddle is detrimental to output than, say, any of training. If “more is better,” the most optimal way to gain more volume and more intensity can be accommodated with variance. The same cyclist, for example, could still train strength, speed, and even cardio off the bike to push forward where fatigue may limit performance with an approach that says “more bike!”

Variance, by definition, comes in many different shapes and approaches. I selfishly like variance in training, too, because it allows for ultimate creativity. Change the equipment, the load, the time working, the range of motion, and any one of a hundred other variables to continue advancing your performance, athletes.


Logan Gelbrich


NORCAL: Learn Strongman This Weekend!

If you’re in the greater Bay Area this weekend, consider an educational opportunity to take the CrossFit Strongman seminar with co-founder, Logan Gelbrich. The one day course is this Saturday February 28th from 9AM to 4:30PM at Diablo CrossFit.

During this one day seminar, you’ll get exposed to the strongman implements including the tire, farmers handles, yoke, atlas stones, and keg. The seminar will include discussion about implementing strongman movements into a general physical preparedness (GPP) program and athletes of all abilities are welcome.

Interested? Enroll here:


Logan Gelbrich


Using Skill to Access Key Reps

The thing we must not forget in strength and conditioning is that the goal is the result. No real athlete or rational high performance human being wants to train for the sake of training. We train to come out on the other end differently.

With that, a low skill athlete may look at high skill movements like the one legged squat, the clean, the split jerk, the snatch, the muscle up, and so on as “party tricks” that in and of themselves aren’t important enough to pursue. They, after all, aren’t just trying to be the best at exercise, right?

Well, maybe not.

Skill gives access. How do you recreate the speed and power of a bodyweight and a half clean? How do you mimic the body weight explosive extension-to-flexion-to extension of the muscle up without the skill to do the actual movement?

High skill movements are worth our time, in my opinion, because they give us access that we wouldn’t otherwise have. As a coach, I see this all the time with athletic, capable athletes that don’t have high skill movements in their quivers.  The result is that they can’t improve as fast and as far as athletes that can train these movements that allow for load, speed, and precision.

A ripped, athletic student that doesn’t know his way around a barbell, for example, can’t improve in the way that a less muscular, less athletic athlete who’s skilled and can build strength and speed without limits. Develop skill so that you can load the system. Develop skill so that you can train better than your opponent.


Logan Gelbrich